Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Going Cloud

Anaqua recently launched a new cloud-based IP management solution for small trademark and/or patent portfolios – ANAQUA Element. What are the benefits of going cloud? What are the issues to consider? Here is a quick overview of the topics to think about before going cloud.
  1. Reduced Costs. Cloud solutions have predictable, visible time-based subscription prices. There are no other internal costs or dependencies. No new systems to buy, configure and manage; no IT admin costs for backups and updates; no network and security infrastructure to manage. Of course, your IT organization might not be set up to have these costs hit your budget directly, but the costs are real and will impact the decision and the timing of getting a new IP system up and running. Going cloud avoids all these internal cost and resource issues.
  2. Secure Access Anywhere Anytime. Most IP systems provide web access these days, but if your system is behind your corporate firewall, you may still face complicated VPN and other secure access requirements to access the system. If you are trying to implement collaboration with external parties such as outside counsel, this can be even more challenging for your IT organization. Larger companies are often comfortable with extranet setups but smaller companies may lack the confidence in their security management. A cloud-based provider handles all these security considerations and gives you much more flexibility for collaboration with all stakeholders.

    What about a law firm’s obligations on client confidentiality for electronic records? A number of US state bar associations have studied this question. Their recommendation is that a law firm should perform appropriate due diligence into the cloud provider’s security infrastructure and that this fulfills their obligations. They recognize that the cloud will have better security that all but the most sophisticated firms.
  3. Better Support Options. The usual support option for a business user of an application installed in-house is to call IT. For most organizations, IP is a small component of the legal department which is itself a small fraction of IT’s responsibilities. This makes it hard for IT to maintain sufficient knowledge of the application and the IP team’s usage to be a useful support resource. This causes frustrations all round. Cloud providers know their application and understand what the users are trying to accomplish. They can respond much more effectively. In addition, cloud providers often offer more choice of unbundled support options that can be more cost-effective for the user. Pay-per-incident or per-support-hour options give the flexibility to tailor support costs as the users move up the experience curve with the system.

Going cloud is an attractive option for a growing range of business operations, including IAM. We’re interested in your experiences and happy to answer your questions. Please contact me at